Sep 10, 2022; Provo, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Keanu Hill (1) catches a pass against Baylor Bears safety Al Walcott (13) and safety Christian Morgan (4) in the first half at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gabriel Mayberry-USA TODAY Sports

Lopini Katoa’s TD gives No. 21 BYU win over No. 9 Baylor in 2OT

Lopini Katoa scored the decisive touchdown in the second overtime as No. 21 BYU recorded a 26-20 victory over No. 9 Baylor in nonconference play on Saturday night at Provo, Utah.

The Cougars’ defense stopped the Bears on their second possession to seal the win and avenge last season’s 38-24 road loss to Baylor.

Jaren Hall completed 23 of 39 passes for 261 yards and one touchdown for BYU (2-0). Hall also caught a touchdown pass from Chase Roberts, who had eight receptions for 122 yards and one score.

Blake Shapen was 18-of-28 passing for 137 yards and one touchdown for Baylor (1-1). Qualan Jones rushed for two scores and Ben Sims had a touchdown catch.

Hall completed a 20-yard pass to Keanu Hill in the second overtime, which set up Katoa’s 3-yard scoring run. The two-point conversion failed, leaving BYU ahead by six.

Baylor relied on the ground game on their second possession, but two false start penalties created a fourth-and-goal from the Cougars 11-yard line. Shapen’s last-ditch throw was over the head of Seth Jones.

Both teams missed field goals in the first possession of overtime.

Baylor’s Isaiah Hankins lined up for a 43-yard field goal, but his kick missed way to the right.

BYU played conservatively on its possession before Jake Oldroyd was wide left from 37 yards. Oldroyd also was wide left on a 35-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining in regulation.

The Cougars took a 20-13 lead on a double-pass trick play with 1:28 remaining in the third quarter.

Hall threw the ball backward to his left to Roberts, who then tossed the ball forward to Hall on the right. With three blockers in front of him, Hall scampered down the right sideline for the score.

Baylor answered with a 12-play, 79-yard drive with Shapen hitting Sims from 4 yards out to knot it at 20 with 10:01 to play.

The Cougars struck for Oldroyd’s 27-yard field goal on their opening possession. Baylor finally got on the board with 1:37 left in the first half on Qualan Jones’ 1-yard run but the extra point try by Hankins clanked off the right upright.

Hall threw a 20-yard scoring pass to Roberts with two seconds left to give BYU a 10-6 halftime lead.

Baylor took a 13-10 lead on Qualan Jones’ 7-yard run with 10:53 left in the third quarter. BYU knotted the score on Oldroyd’s 39-yard field goal with 6:15 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA; Albany Great Danes wide receiver Julian Hicks (1) is tackled by Baylor Bears safety Al Walcott (13) during the second quarter at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Shapen, No. 10 Baylor smash Albany 69-10

Blake Shapen passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third score and Gavin Holmes had a 72-yard punt return TD as No. 10 Baylor rolled to a 69-10 win over visiting Albany on Saturday in the season opener for both teams in Waco, Texas.

The Bears (1-0), the defending Big 12 Conference champions, had little problem with Albany, an FCS school that was picked to finish 12th in the 13-team Colonial Athletic Association after going 2-9 last year.

Shapen completed 17 of 20 passes for 214 yards as Baylor outgained the Great Danes 573-237.

Reese Poffenbarger passed for 150 yards and a score and ran for a team-best 45 yards in three quarters of action for Albany (0-1).

Baylor scored on three of its first four possessions, with Shapen torching the Great Danes’ defense for touchdown passes of 47 and 38 yards to Monaray Baldwin and Hal Presley, respectively, and Craig Williams ramming home a 4-yard TD run.

Holmes’ punt return in the first quarter followed Williams’ scoring run and preceded a 17-yard touchdown pass from Poffenbarger to Julian Hicks that was Albany’s only true highlight of the first quarter.

Shapen added a 1-yard touchdown run on an all-or-nothing final play of the half to push Baylor’s lead to 35-7 at the break. The Bears outgained Albany 257-139 in the first half, with a 214-87 edge through the air.

Baldwin ripped off a 50-yard run around left end on Baylor’s first drive of the third quarter to increase the Bears’ advantage.

John Opalko added a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter for Great Danes’ final points.

Kyron Drones, who relieved Shapen at the 6:19 mark of the third quarter, engineered a scoring drive in his first series, eventually scoring on a 9-yard jaunt late in the quarter. Richard Resse added TD runs of 1 and 7 yards in the fourth quarter before Qualan Jones capped the scoring with a 27-yard TD run as the Bears poured it on late.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA;  Mississippi Rebels running back Snoop Conner (24) rushes against the Baylor Bears cornerback Mark Milton (37) during the second half of the 2022 Sugar Bowl at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

New look, same high standards as No. 10 Baylor faces Albany

No. 10 Baylor will look to handle a lower-level opponent and set the table for a repeat run to the Big 12 Conference title when it hosts Albany, an FCS team, on Saturday evening in the season opener for both teams at Waco, Texas.

The Bears won 12 games for the first time in program history in 2021, a season after they went 2-7. Baylor beat Oklahoma State in the conference championship game last December, then defeated seventh-ranked Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl to finish 12-2.

After being picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 in last year’s preseason coaches’ poll, Baylor is the league favorite heading into this season.

“Last year, we took everybody by surprise, but this year it’s no surprise,” Baylor senior cornerback Mark Milton said. “It’s kind of like every game is going to be (our opponents’) Super Bowl, so we’ve got to be on our Ps and Qs every single week knowing that. We’re going to do the same thing — pound the rock every day.”

Baylor will have to replace the majority of its offensive firepower from last year, but the Bears have serious depth throughout the roster.

Baylor’s returning players, including four starters on the offensive line, have taken charge, leaving coach Dave Aranda impressed by how the veterans have shown the team’s newcomers the standards expected from the team.

“We’ve been way focused and positive,” Aranda said. “And it gets better when we hit the field and we see the effort and the competitiveness of when we’re striving and pushing each other to be better.”

“The issues for us are really strong leadership that left from last year and growing some leaders. All the way back to what leadership is, there’s been a lot of work with that, and it’s ongoing.”

Sophomore quarterback Blake Shapen won the starting job over senior Gerry Bohanon in the spring and has been impressive as his leadership and passing skills have evolved throughout the summer and preseason camp.

Albany, which was added to Baylor’s schedule when a home-and-away series with Louisiana Tech was canceled, will be little but fodder for the Bears to tinker with in their opener. Things will get much tougher in Week 2 when Baylor travels to play No. 25 BYU.

The Great Danes, who play in the Colonial Athletic Association as an FCS Division I school, went 2-9 last season in their eighth year under coach Greg Gattuso. Albany reached the second round of the FCS playoffs in 2019.

Albany was picked to finish 12th in the 13-team CAA in the preseason media poll. The Great Danes are led by linebacker Jackson Ambush, their leading tackler from last year, punter Tyler Pastula and defensive lineman Anthony Lang, each of whom was named to the All-CAA preseason team.

Sophomore Reese Poffenbarger, a transfer from Old Dominion, will get his first college start for Albany after winning a three-player quarterback battle in the offseason.

“I don’t know what to expect or how we’re going to play or where we’ll be at halftime or anything like that,” Gattuso said. “But the goal is to make sure we get everybody some snaps in the game, for sure.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Charlie Brewer (12) warm up prior to their game against the Weber State Wildcats  at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Liberty names grad transfer Charlie Brewer starting QB

Charlie Brewer will start the 2022 season at quarterback for Liberty, coach Hugh Freeze announced Monday.

The well-traveled graduate transfer will replace Malik Willis, now in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans. Brewer previously was the starter at both Baylor and Utah.

He decided to leave the Utah program last September after he was replaced during the third game of the season. Cameron Rising took over in a 33-31 loss to San Diego State in triple overtime and led the Utes to a 10-3 record and a berth in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State.

Brewer transferred to Liberty in December and has one year of eligibility remaining.

Following four seasons (2017-20) at Baylor, Brewer moved on to Utah. He completed 48 of 79 passes for 484 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, compiling a 1-2 record as the Utes’ starter.

At Baylor, he passed for 9,700 yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 picks.

Liberty opens the season on Sept. 3 at Southern Miss.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) throws a pass against the Mississippi Rebels in the third quarter of the 2022 Sugar Bowl at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Former Baylor starting QB Gerry Bohanon transfers to USF

Ex-Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon announced Sunday that he will transfer to South Florida for his senior season.

Bohanon will compete with current starter Timmy McClain for the Bulls’ starting QB job.

Bohanon completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions last season for Baylor (12-2). He also ran for 323 yards and nine TDs on 76 carries in his lone season as a starter. The 12 wins for Baylor are a team single-season high.

Bohanon, however, entered the transfer portal this spring after losing his starting job to sophomore Blake Shapen.

McClain completed 55.3 percent of his passes for 1,888 yards and five touchdowns for South Florida (2-10) last year. He threw seven interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA;  A general picture of a Grambling State Tigers helmet on the sideline of the game between the Houston Cougars and the Grambling State Tigers at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Ex-Baylor coach Art Briles named OC at Grambling State

Art Briles, who left his job as head coach at Baylor in disgrace, has been hired as the offensive coordinator at Grambling State, multiple outlets reported Thursday.

247Sports said a Grambling spokesperson confirmed the hiring of Briles but added the school would not be issuing an official statement. Instead, “a local TV station did an exclusive interview and we are allowing for them to tell that story,” the spokesperson said, per 247Sports.

Grambling’s head coach, former Cleveland Browns and then-Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson, has not commented.

Briles, 66, last coached at the college level in 2015. Baylor terminated Briles’ contract before the 2016 season following a widespread sexual assault scandal in the Bears’ football program.

Most recently, Briles spent two seasons as the head coach of Mount Vernon High School in Texas. He resigned following the 2020 season.

Briles was hired at the University of Houston as head coach in 2003. Following five mostly successful seasons and three bowl games with the Cougars, Baylor tabbed Briles as head coach.

Briles’ teams finished in the top 20 four times in his eight seasons at Baylor, where he went 65-37 with six bowl appearances.

In 2019, Briles was close to being hired for the offensive coordinator job at Southern Miss, until negative backlash followed a Biloxi Sun Herald report that Briles was on the Hattiesburg campus for an interview. The school quickly reversed course amid criticism.

An opportunity to work as an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League also was rescinded after community response.

Overall, Briles compiled a 99-65 record in 13 seasons as a head coach at Houston (2003-07) and Baylor (2008-15), leading the Bears to Big 12 championships in 2013 and 2014.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baylor Bears head coach Dave Aranda runs onto the field before the 2022 Sugar Bowl against the Mississippi Rebels at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor, coach Dave Aranda agree to extension through 2029

Dave Aranda and Baylor agreed on a contract extension that will keep him on the Bears’ sideline through the 2029 season.

The private school announced the extension Tuesday but did not disclose financial terms.

Aranda led Baylor to a 12-2 record in 2021 — the most wins in school history. The Bears won the Big 12 championship and the Sugar Bowl, finishing the season ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

“Dave has brought unprecedented success to our football program both on and off the field,” athletic director Mack B. Rhoades said. “He has brought tremendous national exposure and acclaim to our institution and the greater Waco community. … Dave is, without question, one of the most brilliant minds in college football across the country.”

The Bears were 2-7 in Aranda’s first season in 2020. In the 2021 turnaround, they defeated a school-record five ranked opponents. Aranda was named Big 12 Coach of the Year.

Baylor hired Aranda, who was the associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, to replace Matt Rhule when he departed to become head coach of the Carolina Panthers.

“I look forward to continuing the work we’ve started on and off the field in the years to come,” the 45-year-old Aranda said.

Baylor will kick off the 2022 season at home against FCS opponent Albany on Sept. 3.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baylor Bears defensive tackle Siaki Ika (62) reaches for Mississippi Rebels quarterback Luke Altmyer (7) during the first half in the 2022 Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Monaray Baldwin, Baylor defense highlight Sugar Bowl victory

Monaray Baldwin scored on a tiebreaking 48-yard run as No. 7 Baylor notched its school-record 12th win by beating No. 8 Ole Miss 21-7 on Saturday night at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

With the teams tied at 7-7 in the fourth quarter, Baldwin took off on a jet sweep and blazed his way to the end zone to give the Bears (12-2) the go-ahead score with 11:14 remaining.

Baylor improved to 2-1 in the Sugar Bowl — the other win came in 1957 — and 14-12 all-time in bowls.

A year after going 2-7, the Big 12 champion topped its previous 11-win seasons in 2013, 2014 and 2019.

Abram Smith rushed for 172 yards on 25 carries, and Gerry Bohanon was 7 for 17 for 40 yards with a touchdown and an interception after missing the previous two games.

JT Woods produced two interceptions and Al Walcott had a 96-yard pick-six for the defense, which logged 10 sacks and recorded a turnover for the 22nd straight game.

Playing his final game for Ole Miss (10-3), quarterback Matt Corral left with 2:13 remaining in the first quarter after suffering a lower-leg injury while being sacked by Baylor’s Cole Maxwell.

He rushed seven times for 17 yards and was 2-for-6 passing for 10 yards with an interception in three series. The star signal-caller later returned to the sideline on crutches.

True freshman Luke Altmyer replaced Corral and was 15 for 29 for 174 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Dontario Drummond’s 104 yards on nine receptions pushed him past 1,000 receiving yards for the season.

Baylor’s defense entered with 16 interceptions — seventh in the country — and delivered a message early, with Woods picking off Corral downfield on the second play from scrimmage.

With Altmyer in, Ole Miss moved inside the red zone early in the second quarter. Matt Jones then batted the quarterback’s pass right to Walcott, who dashed 96 yards for a 7-0 lead with 10:16 left until halftime.

However, Altmyer tied it with 9:13 left in the third quarter when he lobbed a perfect 37-yard strike to Braylon Sanders — Altmyer’s first career TD pass.

Tyquan Thornton caught a short TD pass midway through the fourth for the final margin after Woods’ second interception set up Baylor at the Ole Miss 15.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2021; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the fourth quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 7 Baylor faces No. 8 Ole Miss in compelling Sugar Bowl matchup

With the NFL looming on the horizon, Matt Corral gets one final chance to quarterback Ole Miss.

After leading the Rebels to a 10-2 record following a season-ending 31-21 Egg Bowl win over Mississippi State, Corral and the No. 8 Rebels will face No. 7 Baylor in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s night.

In one of the more intriguing New Year’s Day Six bowls, Corral decided to play for the Rebels – who opened as a two-point betting favorite — after announcing before the Egg Bowl that he would enter the 2022 NFL Draft.

His presence will allow head coach Lane Kiffin and outgoing offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby – headed to Oklahoma — another chance to produce numbers that slotted the Rebels fourth in total offense (506.7 yards per game) – 282.4 passing, 224.2 rushing.

One of only four FBS quarterbacks with 20 passing touchdowns and at least 10 rushing scores (he has 11), the Ventura, Calif., native finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting.

“It never crossed my mind” to sit out the game, Corral said. “I’m healthy … I’m going to give these guys everything I got until it’s over.”

Ole Miss is the nation’s only offense with four rushers with at least 500 yards – Jerrion Ealy (703), Snoop Conner (605), Corral (597) and Henry Parrish Jr. (542).

Explosive defensive lineman Sam Williams, who set a school record with 12.5 sacks, will also play for Ole Miss, which has no opt-outs for the New Orleans classic.

The Rebels sport a 6-3 record in the Sugar Bowl, including a 48-20 victory over Oklahoma State after the 2015 season.

Ole Miss is 12-2 in its past 14 bowl games dating back to the 1992 Liberty Bowl and 10-4 in bowls against current Big 12 members.

A second-year head coach at his current school like Kiffin, Dave Aranda has built Baylor (11-2) into a hard-nosed team that played strong defense, ran the ball well and got consistent quarterback play on the way to claiming its third Big 12 title in a 21-16 win over Oklahoma State in Dallas on Dec. 4.

That stout defense and a strong running game behind Abram Smith (1,429 yards, 12 TDs) and Trestan Ebner (763 yards) will be key to controlling the pace for Baylor, which is making its second Sugar Bowl appearance in three years after losing 26-14 to Georgia two seasons ago.

In its only other Sugar Bowl appearance — at Tulane Stadium in 1957 — Baylor pulled off a 13-7 upset of No. 2 Tennessee, which was undefeated and led by Heisman runner-up Johnny Majors.

Tied with Iowa for 14th in scoring defense, Baylor yields 19.15 points, while Corral and crew score 36 per outing.

“I think it’s a good contrast in styles, and we’re looking forward to that challenge,” said Aranda, who was LSU’s first-year defensive coordinator in 2016 when Kiffin was Alabama’s offensive coordinator in a 10-0 Crimson Tide win.

Out for two games with a hamstring injury, quarterback Gerry Bohanon is healthy and will lead the Baylor offense.

Aranda said Monday that backup Blake Shapen, who relieved Bohanon in a win over Kansas State and was triumphant in two subsequent starts including the Big 12 title game, has a shoulder injury and likely will not play.

The contest marks just the second all-time meeting between the schools: Baylor won 20-10 at home on Sept. 6, 1975.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Carson, California, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Charlie Brewer (12) throws against the San Diego State Aztecs during the first half at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: QB Charlie Brewer transferring to Liberty

Quarterback Charlie Brewer, previously the starter at both Baylor and Utah, is transferring to Liberty, multiple outlets reported Saturday.

Brewer has one year of eligibility remaining.

He began the 2021 season as Utah’s starting quarterback but decided to leave the program in September after he was replaced during the third game of the season. Cameron Rising took over in a 33-31 loss to San Diego State in triple overtime and led the Utes to a 10-3 record and a berth in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State.

“Charlie has decided to move on and we wish him the best,” coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement issued Sept. 21, three days after the loss to the Aztecs.

Brewer was 1-2 as a starter, Rising 9-1.

Brewer joined the Utes in 2021 as a graduate transfer after four seasons at Baylor. Brewer completed 48 of 79 passes for 484 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

He passed for 9,700 yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 picks at Baylor (2017-20).

Liberty will need a quarterback to replace Malik Willis, a potential first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Also on the Liberty roster is Kaidon Salter, a four-star prospect in the Class of 2021 who committed to Tennessee but was dismissed from the program before the season after two run-ins with the law.

Liberty (7-5) will meet Eastern Michigan (7-5) in the LendingTree Bowl on Dec. 18.

–Field Level Media